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Anonymous

July 23, 2006

Im 27 years old and the mom of a beautiful 17 month old girl.

Ive never had a very good body image, and have always been particularly unhappy with my belly. A few years before I got pregnant, I completely changed my eating and exercising habits, and lost about 30-35 pounds over the course of 2 years, bringing me down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 172, not a bad weight for my 5’9″ frame.

I got pregnant very quickly once we started trying, but had a difficult pregnancy; I was in a lot of discomfort and pain most of the time. Here is one of the rare pictures of me during my pregnancy, at about 38 weeks:

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A few days after this picture was taken, I was admitted to the hospital for toxemia. After ten days of bed rest and several failed attempts to induce labor, I delivered a healthy and beautiful 8lb girl via c-section. I had gained over sixty pounds.

Its been frustrating that my body has been so slow to recover, especially since I had worked so hard to lose weight before. A month or two ago, I saw an article in Parents magazine about a woman who had a tummy tuck because a year or so after giving birth to twins, her belly was still flabby and ugly. The article showed pictures of her tummy before the procedure. When I saw them, I cried. Id been trying to hold back the negative body image thoughts, telling myself I was just taking extra time to lose the baby weight. But these before pictures of the ugly, flabby belly didnt look so foreign to me; they looked a lot like my belly. Maybe there really was something wrong with me.

When I saw the pictures on this web site, I cried again, this time out of relief. I was right the first time. My body is slowly recovering, and this is part of what it means to be a mom. So here I am today, 17 months postpartum, and about 15 pounds (and two pant sizes) from my pre-pregnancy weight.

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Im still frustrated that I havent made more progress, and Im frustrated with my body because, while I was blessed to conceive easily, Ive had such a difficult time being pregnant, delivering, and recovering physically and emotionally from pregnancy. But now this is part of that healing too. This is the most liberating thing I think Ive ever done. Thank you so, so much for this space to share my belly and my story.

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11 Responses to “Anonymous”

  1. Anonymous Says:
    July 23rd, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing….isn’t it interesting how liberated we are by opening ourselves up to others?If only women could do that in daily interactions with one another, how enriched our lives would be indeed.You are truly blessed and will continue to heal.

  2. R Says:
    July 24th, 2006 at 5:16 am

    You are courageous and you are beautiful. Thank You for sharing yet another story and picture with other moms struggling to accept their own postpartum beauty.

  3. Anonymous Says:
    July 24th, 2006 at 5:19 am

    I look just like that! good to know I’m not alone in all this. Thanks so much for being brave enough to share.

  4. Nikki Says:
    July 24th, 2006 at 8:00 am

    My belly looks like that, with the exception of – my stretch marks go up higher on my rib cage.Thank you. I thought I was the only one.I also dropped alot of weight right before I got pregnant I HAD WORKED SO HARD! and now I just can’t seem to get rid of it.Thank you. I feel so much better now. I’m not alone.

  5. thordora Says:
    July 24th, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    I look like this too, only bigger. The half risen bread never seems to go away.

  6. Liz Says:
    July 24th, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    I began crying when I saw your picture, not for bad reasons but because I felt like I was staring in a mirror. Thank you so much for posting your story and your pictures! I feel better knowing that I am not alone! I am trying my darndest to feel better and look better, thankfully I have a wonderful husband who loves me!

  7. Anonymous Says:
    July 24th, 2006 at 8:45 pm

    How did you get that picture of my belly? LOLThis looks EXACTLY like mine did. My stretch marks are lighter now, but other than that this could be my belly. I also had gained over 60 lbs with my pregnancies, and had csections. Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. crzylady Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 10:57 am

    Your baby’s home is beautiful!

  9. Anonymous Says:
    July 25th, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    A belly that looks just like mine.It is SO refreshing to see that, when for so long I’d thought I was a freak.

  10. Anonymous Says:
    July 26th, 2006 at 5:44 am

    I’m 5’8″ and today weigh 198#. My son is 5 years old — and my oldest is 23 years old. I’m 49.5 years old.I looked very similar to you when my son was 17 months old — but it firms up a bit. I still sag though.I lost 50# last year and gained every pound back before the year was over.I love my life and I love my family and they love me.With all that’s going on in the world, how can I even worry about how I look!?Mothers and motherhood is a noble vocation and we should wear our “scars” as jewels on a crown.

  11. Anonymous Says:
    July 26th, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    You could be me! Your photos look just like me, and I read that story in Parenting, too. I lost a lot of weight before I became pregnant, and it is so frustrating to see how flabby I am now.Thank you for posting your story. I have hope again!

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